Mustard Plug – Can’t Contain it

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Upcoming Mustard Plug Florida Dates
Thursday, January 23, at Will’s Pub in Orlando Click here for tickets
Friday, January 24, at Churchills in Miami
Saturday, January 25,  at Loosey’s in Gainesville Click here for tickets
Sunday, January 26, at Beachside Tavern in New Smyrna Beach

Mustard Plug – Can’t Contain It Album Review

I think it’s important every now and then to stop whatever you’re doing, raise your red solo cup, and salute a band in pursuit of party. Mustard Plug’s new album Can’t Contain It certainly encourages this notion.

The album comes across as sort of a motivational speech to dance. Can’t Contain It starts off with a musical kick to the face as the horns in “We Came to Party” hypnotize the listener into a head bobbing, arm flailing, irresistible urge to dance. Not since the Ramones 1976 “Blitzkrieg Bop” have the words “hey, ho” had such feeling behind them. As the chorus echoes these hallowed words, the listener is jolted with energy. The first time I heard “We Came to Party” I was as encouraged to get out of my chair and dance as I was to get out of my chair and chuck it across the room. But, I think it’s this uncontainable burst of emotions extracted from the song that tips a hat to the band’s prominent punk side; while the band’s small but devoted brass section reminds the listener that Mustard Plug intertwines its punk roots with ska vines.

However, Can’t Contain It isn’t all fun and games, as a few songs on the album play to the band’s darker more serious side. While my favorite songs on the album are the thrashy ones like “We Came to Party” and “Aye Aye Aye;” it’s the more solemn songs on the album that suggest Mustard Plug has spent the last seven years since their previous album release, maturing as a band. It’s easy to party, if that’s what you’re good at, and Mustard Plug’s last seven albums are a testament to this. Yet, it is their latest album that proves they’ve come to stand for something more than just party music.

The second to last song on the album, “Perfect Plan” is evidence of this truth. The lyrics in this song are a testament to Mustard Plug’s successful attempt to reach their audience on a deeper level. “Should we start before we end” and “will we make it to the summer” are two questions posed in a song about a relationship that doesn’t quite pan out the way two lovers thought it might. Clocking in at just over two minutes, the song is short, it’s sweet, it’s relatable, but above all else, it’s honest. It’s tough to write a song as honest as “Perfect Plan,” both melodically and lyrically. Yet, it’s even tougher to convey the kind of feeling prevalent in lead vocalist, David Kirchgessner’s voice. It’s rare to find a vocalist as seemingly invested in each and every song as Kirchgessner.

Die-hard fans of Mustard Plug will be pleasantly surprised while new listeners will be hooked. I highly recommend getting a group of friends together, hitting the nearest bar, and blasting Mustard Plug’s newest album Can’t Contain It. You might dance, you might get in a bar fight, or you might even just shed a tear. No matter how you feel after you’ve listen to the album, one things for sure, you know you’ve felt something.

-Joey Farese

Upcoming Mustard Plug Florida Dates
Thursday, January 23, at Will’s Pub in Orlando Click here for tickets
Friday, January 24, at Churchills in Miami
Saturday, January 25,  at Loosey’s in Gainesville Click here for tickets
Sunday, January 26, at Beachside Tavern in New Smyrna Beach


Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues – Album Review

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Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

When I was 17, I lived just outside of Jacksonville and began attending my fourth (and final) high school.  I met a cute brunette at a show, and she went to my school.  She was cooler than me, it’s true.  She kept playing this band from Gainesville in the car that I had never heard of before.  The opening song sounded like the beginning to a spaghetti western, and she knew all the words and I didn’t.  That would soon change as I fell head over heels for Against Me! and the girl.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a little background information on what’s happening on this album.  Tom Gabel… I don’t know exactly how to phrase it.  Tom Gabel is not gone, but he’s also not here.  Even the band’s Wikipedia page does not list him under former members.  Let’s dig deeper.

Transgender Dysphoria is defined as a person’s discontent with the sex that they were assigned at birth, and the roles associated with that gender.  Tom Gabel suffers (suffered?) from transgender dysphoria and finally reached a breaking point where something had to give.  So, now Tom Gabel is Laura Jane Grace.  Out of what is seemingly a very complicated situation comes a relatively simplistic solution: tell the people in your life what you are feeling, and make changes accordingly.  Fortunately, Tom has the support of his family, bandmates, and I’m going to assume the majority of his fans as well.

The album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, starts off the same way that Reinventing Axl Rose  does; with a snare drum and Laura banging out chords on that beautiful Rickenbacker semi-hollow body that has inspired bouts of envy from me, time and again, over the years.  Laura’s voice remains unchanged and except for the subject matter, it’s still the same band.  The subject matter is confessional but should not ever be mistaken for an apology.  Laura jumps right into it with the opening track, which has the same name as the album.  “You want them to see you like they see every other girl. They just see a faggot.”  That about sums it up, right? We’re done here? Not quite.  Following the title track is “True Trans Soul Rebel” which is the tune that caught my attention on my drive home this evening and kicked my ass into writing this at one o’clock in the morning.  Laura knows, and always has known, how and when to tug on the heart strings to create the most effective songs and records.  This track has a melancholy feel to it (especially the verses) but when you start paying attention to the words it becomes truly heart-breaking.   “Yet to be born, you’re already dead” would sound cryptic or nonsensical taken out of context, but in the context of this record I think it’s one of the most profound statements Laura makes on the album.

Laura has always inspired quiet, introspective night drives through northeast Florida but as I rolled away from Duval county and picked up speed on the highway, “Two Coffins” punched me right in the nose with a closed fist.  I can’t tell who it is about (Laura’s wife? Her daughter, perhaps?), but that is hardly the point.  The point is that it makes sense to her and she has kindly left enough of a void in the lyrics for a person to insert themselves into the song.  It’s an acoustic song, and it drips with bittersweet longing for the person that she is singing to.  Maybe in my current state of mind I’m just not hearing the lyrics from the right angle and to someone else it would be quite obvious, but right now, tonight, the mystery of the song is part of why it’s one of my favorite tracks on this album.

Immediately following “Two Coffins” is “Paralytic States”, which upon first listen sounds like an up-tempo, feel good song.  Diving deeper into the lyrics you realize that it’s a terrifying account of someone suffering from Transgender Dysphoria, and the lengths to which a human could potentially go when they are unable, or unsure, of how to cope.  Add substance abuse to the mix and you have a really volatile, desperate, hopeless individual on your hands.  Laura said in another article that it came down to a matter of survival for her.  Just reading the lyrics sends a shiver down my spine and I am thankful that when unsatisfied with life she was strong enough to make a change, despite life and potentially relationship-changing implications.  In this instance it seems that there will be a happy ending, but I can’t help but wonder how many others there are in this world that will not arrive at the same destination.

I guess if I could take away one lesson from this album, it’s that things change.  Time changes, people change, places change.  Just like when I got back to Florida and drove down familiar roads only to realize that the people who lived in this house no longer live there, the same thing is happening to every other person in this world.  Maybe they didn’t realize it yesterday, or today, and maybe they won’t tomorrow, but it’s almost guaranteed that at least once in an individual’s life they will realize that the world is changing around them constantly.  The way that I don’t see that girl at shows anymore is the same as why I’ll never see Tom Gabel up on stage again screaming out the lyrics to “Walking Is Still Honest.”  Things change, and that’s okay.

Laura Jane Grace is here to help us keep the music playing.  Transgender Dysphoria Blues is one of the most affecting records I’ve ever heard in my life, and I only covered a handful of the ten tracks.  If you want to hear about, and feel, some really life changing, in your face, gritty stuff happening in someone’s life, please listen.  If you don’t want to feel what another person is feeling why do you listen to music in the first place?

Broken Birdie

Editor: If you enjoy rock music, do us a favor and Like Us and Follow Us in our efforts to spread the gospel of rock across the great state of Florida (and beyond)…

James Durbin Entertains Orlando

Photo credit:
James Durbin live in concert at Will’s Pub


James Durbin Acoustic Show Review

Three years ago, James Durbin exploded onto the American music scene as a captivating underdog on Season 10 of American Idol. During that whirlwind year, Durbin finished in the Top 4 and gained tremendous popularity, playing all of the late night talk shows, hitting all of the big arenas and churning out a quick album that peaked in the Top 10 of the album rock charts.

Since that breakthrough year, things have settled down a bit for the young rocker and he’s just wrapped up his second album, the soon to be released CELEBRATE. This time around, he took his time and put together a collection of songs that are more reflective of the musician he has become. He’s co-written all but one of the new songs and plays guitar on all of them, and on this night he clearly made them all his own.

Read our recent interview with James for some more of his thoughts: James Durbin chats with Cretin.

He’s eschewed the bigger rooms across the country for a chance to play toned down acoustic shows in intimate settings, such as the cozy Will’s Pub on this night. With a comfortable grey jacket and tight knit cap he unassumingly took to the stage with his two band mates and simply shared his music as if playing to a group of friends. He was joined on stage by long-time friend Jeremy Cross on percussion in what Durbin dubbed his “baby drum kit,” and Craiglist find Justin Kastner on bass. They were solid, if under-stated, but this show was all about Durbin.

The crowd of less than 100 was treated to a special evening.  Durbin interacted with the crowd often during the show and was comfortable and witty throughout. At one point, reflecting on his days as a Karaoke host, he offered, “tip your bartenders, don’t be a dick.” His most humorous interlude was talking about the troubles with his tour bus. The vehicle is driven by their tour manager Noah Brown has been affectionately nicknamed Noah’s Ark.

As affable as he was on stage, this tour is a spotlight on his musical talent. His guitar playing was solid all night, but truthfully was over-shadowed by his voice, which was simply spectacular.

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James Durbin live in concert at Will’s Pub

Early in the set, we had a chance to hear his new single “Parachute.” The song had a different feel performed acoustically, but it’s clear that it has hit potential.  He spent about half of his hour long set unaccompanied, and during this time poured his soul into the music and nailed every vocal. The majority of the tracks were from the new album, and as he acknowledged, will sound much different when the album comes out and we hear the full production version, but on this night, the stripped down approach was priceless.

Grab a copy of the new single on iTunes here: Parachute – James Durbin- Single

The title track off of “CELEBRATE” was a highlight. Driven by his tremendous vocal range, it was punctuated by a nice whistling finale. The highlight and biggest surprise of the night was when he reached deep into his past for an unexpected surprise. In our pre-show interview linked above, he had told me not to expect any Idol flashbacks, but the crowd was in for a nice surprise.  “I haven’t played this song in three years (since American Idol). I’m gonna try it, and if I fuck up ill just stop! Have a little faith.” He strummed a few bars looked up and offered “”I can do this; this will be magical, and then thrust into “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” Fantastic stuff.

Other highlights included the crowd favorite, “May,” and the stunning vocals of “Higher Than Heaven” and “Love in Ruins,” as well as a creative version of “Fool For You,” with his own creative ‘tribute’ to Bruno Mars.   (If I bungled any of these song titles, let me know)

This tour is one of those rare opportunities to catch a rising star in an intimate, stripped down and honest setting, simply doing what they do best. If the tour heads through a city near you, do yourself a favor and check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

By the way, I loved the fun and creative set by opener Kelley James which was highlighted by his freestyle spin on golf and weed. Great stuff in a set that was filled with highlights.

Rock On!

Editor: We will be posting show photos on Twitter and Facebook over the weekend and reviewing the new album as soon as it’s available, so Follow Us / Like Us to keep informed on this and all things rock…

Interview with Sleeper Agent’s Tony Smith

Phil Knott Courtesy RCA
Phil Knott Courtesy RCA

Sleeper Agent Concert Preview and Tony Smith Interview

Sleeper Agent, a distinctive and talented Alt-Rock band is headed to Orlando, and we had a chance to chat with front man Tony Smith a bit about the tour, the band’s new album, About Last Night, and a few other things.

RARA’s Farm: RARA’s Farm has an affinity these days for Alt-Rock with Male/Female vocal trade-offs, like Sleeper Agent, Grouplove, Mother Mother and a few others. As a music fan, do you find yourself drawn to that kind of music or are your tastes totally divergent?
Tony Smith: In 2009 when Alex joined, I originally intended for her to play bass and sing back-up, ala Kim Deal of the Pixies. It didn’t work out and we had a show coming up in a few days so to save time we just split the difference on vocals. I was also really into The XX at the time, too. Now that I think about it, all my favorite albums in the past couple of years have been from females: EMA, Grimes, Haim…

RARA’s Farm: When the songs are first written, are the vocal plans already decided, as in who takes or shares the lead? Or is that something that evolves after the fact?
Tony Smith: Melody always comes first and is most important to me. On the new album, About Last Night, I wanted to toy with more harmonies and reserved a lot of my vocals for back-up unless it needed that extra male vocal dynamic.

RARA’s Farm: Where did the new album title come from? Who’s the big Rob Lowe fan?
Tony Smith: The title’s somewhat of a continuation of Celabrasion. It’s the morning after that experience and the content is reflective of the past three years of being in this band, and 80’s Demi Moore was hot.

RARA’s Farm: When will the album hit the streets?
Tony Smith: March 25th.

RARA’s Farm: Which song from About Last Night has been the most positively received by your fans when playing live?
Tony Smith: It’s a little too soon to confidently say for sure. But, “Be Brave,” “Shut” and “Impressed” have been turning some heads.

RARA’s Farm: Is there a song or two from across your catalog that you particularly enjoy playing live?
Tony Smith: “That’s My Baby” is always fun to play because it seems to have resonated most with fans after all these years.

Grab “That’s My Baby” on iTunes here: That’s My Baby – Celabrasion

RARA’s Farm: After many years of sort of not being on the rock music landscape, Kentucky is a hot place right now. Any idea why?
Tony Smith: No idea. Is it really? I need to get out more.

RARA’s Farm: Humor seems to be such a prevalent part of your fabric as a band. Is that just my overactive imagination?
Tony Smith: We’re all too damned serious as individuals and so when you put us together we recognize how off putting that is and just start riffing on each other.

RARA’s Farm: You are touring with New Politics and Magic Man for the next few months. Is there any one place you are most looking forward to playing, other than Orlando, of course?
Tony Smith: It was -3 degrees in Kentucky the week we left for tour. Any place that’s warm is more than welcomed. Orlando’s warm, right? But, I’m looking forward to seeing St. Louis, Chicago, Atlanta and Santa Barbara again, as well.

For those of you in Florida, you can catch this excellent live band at The Social in Orlando on Saturday, January 18th and at The Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale on the 19th.. They open the show with New Politics, so don’t be late.  This is a killer show that RARA’s Farm will not miss, so Follow/Like Us for show updates…

Rock On!

Delta Saints Bring Cajun Rock to Florida

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Delta Saints Concert Review

Atlanta’s Blackberry Smoke are in the early stages of a national tour which was kicked off this weekend in Florida. Fans of the band are in for a treat, as the country/Southern rockers have brought along the very talented Delta Saints as their opener.

We had a chance to catch the quintet at their show last night at Orlando’s House Of Blues and left quite impressed. After watching their forty-five minute set, I think their unique and diverse blend of rock music is best described as dirty, slinky bayou rock that’s good for the soul.  The Delta Saints are different for sure. They do things their own way and are an absolutely refreshing act for rock ‘n roll fans.

Ben Ringel’s vocals are distinctive and catchy, but the band truly revolves around the musical talent of all five band members. Ringel plays a National Dobro and traded off lead guitar with Dylan Fitch throughout the forty-five minutes set. Because of the two talented guitarists, they at times sounded like a guitar powered band, but in reality, they are a truly balanced act.

David Supica on bass and drummer Ben Azzi powered the performance from the opening of “Liar” through the final notes of “Jericho.”   Supica and Fitch were flying around the stage and seemed to be having a blast playing to the packed HOB house.

However, I was most impressed by the contributions of Willy Burns on keyboard.  His keyboards were more prominent than in any other artist I’ve heard over the past few years and are clearly an integral part of the band and their distinctive sound.  His playing stood out on “Drink It Slow,” where the extended jam he shared with Azzi was my highlight of the show.

On this, their first Orlando visit, the band clearly impressed the crowd, and had them actively engaged, particularly during “Death Letter Jubileee,” the title track off of their strong 2013 release (see our review here and check it out below the article), and their most engaging offering this night.  Other highlights included “Devil’s Creek,” a rollicking song about a hangover, “Cigarette,” a fun two-step boogie, and “Steppin'” which highlighted both Ringel’s powerful vocals and excellent guitar work.

They closed the set powerfully, with a crowd-pleasing mash-up of their excellent “Jericho” interspersed with a few highly interactive verses of The Beatles classic, “Hey Jude.” They thanked the crowd and left the stage with numerous new converts.

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I had a chance to talk to several of the band members after the show and they seemed truly humble and happy to be travelling the country with Blackberry Smoke and the opportunity to play in front of so many potential new fans.  They’re a talented crew with a great attitude, and I look forward to watching them progress as artists.

Rock On!



James Durbin Talks About His Upcoming Tour

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James Durbin – Photo by LeAnn Mueller

James Durbin’s “Celebrate” Tour Comes to Florida

The Central Florida 2014 rock concert season is about to instantly ratchet up a few notches with heralded young rocker James Durbin tearing through Orlando and Jacksonville as part of his current National Tour.

The American Idol success story is touring in support of his forthcoming release,Celebrate, on a tour that promises to spotlight his continued growth as an artist and performer. Durbin took some time out of his tour schedule to share some thoughts on the album and the tour, including one from our Twitter Community.

RARA’s Farm: For your new album Celebrate, you had considerably more time to complete the release. What was the greatest advantage to having that time to prepare?
James Durbin: The greatest advantage to having more time to make the record was that it gave me more time to write and craft the record itself. On the physical record (not including bonus tracks) I co-wrote 10 of the 11 tracks. That definitely wouldn’t have happened without having that solid, creative time span.

RARA’s Farm:The first single “Parachute” is a pop anthem in the waiting, it possesses a bit more of a polished and mainstream feel than your earlier music, is that what we should expect throughout the album?
James Durbin: Yes and no. The whole record is composed of songs that are very hooky and catchy. It’s all fairly “mainstream” (if that word even still holds value). Like I said before, I had time on my side making Celebrate. Time to know and find out what worked and what didn’t.

RARA’s Farm:You have cited the influences of many diverse artists In your past, The Beatles and Paul McCartney seem to play a prominent role. Would you consider Paul your greatest influence as an artist?
James Durbin: Now that you mention it, I always find myself referring to The Beatles and Paul McCartney’s songwriting style. If you’re gonna look up to someone, might as well pick the greatest living legend, right? No one works for their entire life’s dream aiming for the middle.

RARA’s Farm:Which song off of Celebrate translates the best live, or is your favorite to perform live?
James Durbin: I really love performing “Parachute”. There’s nothing more important than loving your single because you’ll be playing it for the rest of your life. Whichever one it is. It sucks playing something over and over because you have to, but it’s a walk in the park when you listen to it like it’s your own theme song.

RARA’s Farm:Will fans from American Idol see any of the songs you performed on the show in your show setlist on this tour?
James Durbin: Probably not. But then again you never know. I like to perform “on the fly”. There’s so much liberty in being able to go off on some jam. Stray from the setlist ya know? I’m really loving that these days. We are musicians after all.

RARA’s Farm: You seem to wear your heart on your sleeve and are quite passionate when you perform. Which song touches your heart the most when you perform it these days?
James Durbin: “May” has been and always will be an emotional song to perform. Especially when I open my eyes, look into the audience, and see people crying.

RARA’s Farm:Could you tell us anything about the touring band?
James Durbin: It’s me on guitar the whole show. That’s a first. In addition I have my bassist Justin Kastner, who I found on Craigslist, no joke (Thanks Craig!), and one of my best friends Jeremy Cross on percussion. Jeremy was the first person to ever ask me if I wanted to join/start a band. It’s good to have friends with you on tour. Hallelujah!

And finally, from one of our Twitter followers:
Wendy Liu ‏@wendyucliu6h:  In one word, how would you describe your new album?
James Durbin: “CELEBRATE”, that’s why I named it that.

That pretty much says it all. Come out and CELEBRATE with RARA’s Farm as Durbin brings his show to Central Florida in the next week.  We’ll be at the show and providing our review and photos right here afterwards. Follow Us on Twitter and Like Us on Facebook for coverage of this show and everything rock music related in the Central Florida region.

Upcoming Area Shows
Wed. 1/15 – Will’s Pub, Orlando
Fri. 1/17 – Brewster’s Roc Bar, Jacksonville

Tix for both shows are available and at bargain prices! Tickets and a full concert listing are available here: James Durbin Tour Schedule

Rock On!

Luke Dowler EP Review and Interview

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Chat with Luke Dowler on His New EP West

From the first listen to “Coming Home,” the opening track off of Luke Dowler’s 2012 masterpiece Polarized, I’ve been captivated by his unique blend of rock ‘n roll. A true singer-songwriter with a penchant for churning out passionate, thought-provoking originals, Dowler is an artist who always captures my attention.

The Montana based performer is back with his recent release of West, his new EP.  The Kickstarter funded EP finds Dowler pushing his boundaries yet again and is an excellent and diverse offering.  We caught up with him recently and chatted about the new EP.

RARA’s Farm: Tell us a little bit about the decision to use Kickstarter to fund this EP.
Luke Dowler: I thought about doing one a few years back, but even then Kickstarter seemed so over-saturated. The idea came back around and I decided to take the leap.  Any project that takes the Kickstarter approach, there’s some risk out there. Fortunately, we succeeded and we were able to make the EP.

RARA’s Farm: So, this EP is titled West; is there significance as to why these five particular songs ended up on the EP named West?
Luke Dowler: Leaving the label last year and looking forward I was thinking ‘what now’? And, the answer was ‘anything and everything’. I would say that on one level, the EP is not very linear sonically but at the same time, the glue of it is “West” conjuring up images of pioneering and looking forward to the future and what’s next. You’ve got a little bit of electronic a little folk rock and a little acoustic. It was my thought that I could go anywhere from here.

RARA’s Farm: That makes sense. As I listened to the album, it seemed really diverse and I was wondering what the common thread was; that’s a good way to pull it all together.
Luke Dowler: I started out in a ska band and played in a lot of different variations musically and have written in a lot of styles. Sometimes the delivery of style is something that people get hung up on. I’ve always considered myself a songwriter… So that’s why I decided to start out with West. “West” as an idea is where I wanted to start.

As a reviewer, I found the EP was truly a diverse group of songs. A few of them work better than others, but they all stand strongly on their own. The first three are straight forward Dowler-esque rock, and all three are superb; then the EP takes some different twists and turns. We chatted about the five tracks.

RARA’s Farm: The EP kicks off with “Firewater Revelation;” it’s an excellent track with fantastic lyrics.
Luke Dowler: I’m a big fan of Van Gogh’s “Cafe At Night” and the emotional response it evokes and I thought I wanted to paint a picture with a song. So, it’s describing a bit of a melancholy scene. The working title was actually “Bar Rats.” Growing up in the church and learning about life within that context and then playing music and meeting people outside of that context you start to see the similarities in people and similarities in drive and desire and realizing there really is universality of the human spirit. So you see the contrast of the church language and the coarser bar language.

RARA’s Farm: “Good Enough” is a bit of a stripped down folk rock track. Is that a genre that you’re more comfortable playing in? The first three songs are all a bit different, but feel like good fits for you. Is there one that seems like a better fit?
Luke Dowler: I think I like the first three songs equally. “Good Enough” is one that also translates well live. I like all of the tunes on the album, but would probably say my least favorite is “Hold Up The Sky,” and that might be more because of the production value.

RARA’s Farm: Let me ask you about  “College Town,”  listening to those lyrics, are you speaking to a specific college town, or more the electric, eclectic atmosphere in many college towns?
Luke Dowler: I live just North of Missoula, which is similar to a city like Portland… an organic creative and youthful place where there’s a lot happening all the time. So, that’s definitely an influence.

RARA’s Farm: “Hold Up the Sky” – is that a song to your wife Jacy?
Luke Dowler: Yeah. when I first started out, I was writing songs about girls and now that’s come back full circle where I realized the first things I wrote about, girls and love, are worth pursuing.

RARA’s Farm: That female vocal we hear on “Halfway?”
Luke Dowler: Yes, that’s my wife, Jacy singing back-up vocals.

RARA’s Farm: “Halfway” is a bit of a different feel than I’ve heard before from Luke Dowler.
Luke Dowler: I’ve always been a sucker for electronic and dance music. When we’re touring, I always force the crew to listen to it, typically the tackier the better.  “Halfway” is one that I like.

RARA’s Farm: Are there still plans to do the other three compass directions, North, South and East?
Luke Dowler:I think so, I think that is still in the pipeline. I don’t have the timeline down, as I’ve got a couple of singles I’m working on and some music videos, so creatively, I’m looking at that stuff first before completing the three follow-up EPs.

So, there you have it, a bit of an in-depth look at West, and it’s five songs. Check it out below and give us your thoughts.

If you like pure, passionate singer-songwriter rock, you’ll love this album.  The first three selections are pure perfection, and the EP offers a diverse collection every fan of rock music needs on their new music radar.

Rock On!

Midnight Reruns – Midnight Reruns (2013)

Midnight Reruns Album Review

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Midnight Reruns – Midnight Reruns (2013)

This review was due weeks ago, and I feel like an ass for taking so much time with it.  One of my New Year’s resolutions was to try harder to see the silver lining in certain things, and the way that pertains to this situation is that this is a phenomenal record.

Hailing from the polarizing city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Midnight Reruns seem to have their stuff together in a big way.  The drums are solid, the guitar work is spot on and the singer’s voice is perfect for the songs.  I attempted to research the band members names because who doesn’t want to see their names in print?  Either they are content with Daft-Punk-esque self-imposed anonymity, or I am just screwing up.  The singer’s vocals border on snotty, and I find that to be a very endearing quality in a vocalist.  I don’t need snotty to the point where it sounds like they’re hacking something up, but if you want to sound like a brat occasionally, but can still carry a tune, I will listen to you sing for a long, long time, and often (case in point: I still listen to Broken Star by the Broadways, at least once a month, ten years after I first heard it).

(Editor: that would be Graham Hunt’s vocals, I know how to use this cool new tool, Google)

Starting with “Going Nowhere,” I’ll be honest, the sung melody makes me a little uncomfortable as it seems to recall something very specific from the late 90’s.  Probably Our Lady Peace, or something similar that was also on rock radio during that time.  After this song, “King of Pop” (which is probably my favorite on the entire album) starts off with a pretty little jangly guitar line, before bouncing into a hook-fueled romper, clocking in at just under four minutes.

“Grand Slam” drops the tempo to slow-dance proportions, and I actually played it at a house party in Jacksonville Beach a few days ago, shortly after midnight on New Year’s Eve.  Drunk couples grabbed their partners and danced (wobbled?) as illegal fireworks lit up the suburban street out front, the German Shepard stole a pork tenderloin from the grill, and the drunkest woman I’ve ever met had to ask which one was her husband so she could make out with him as she rang in the new year in her own special way.

“Summer Smoker” is an upbeat track that is guaranteed to get stuck in your head.  Once I memorize all the words, I will almost certainly sing it a cappella whilst doing future mundane tasks.

I apologize again for taking my sweet-assed time with this review.  Holidays are kind of insane, so I’m sure you understand.  If you like mostly mid-tempo rockers, with a whole lot of personality, and want to start your new year off on the right note, do yourself a huge favor and pickup the self-titled album by Midnight Reruns.  What’s up Milwaukee? Washington County? Waukesha? Dane? Door? Sauk? Portage? La Crosse?  I miss you guys, but I thank my lucky stars every morning that I wake up in beautiful Florida.

Happy 2014, y’all,


A Rock 'n Roll Community

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